Middlebury College divides its academic program into two 12-week semesters in the fall and spring, and a four-week winter term in January.
Winter term offers both students and faculty unique opportunities for study and learning. Each student may enroll in only one academic, credit-bearing course; each instructor teaches only one course. Students may study independently or as participants in a course, in their major fields or in disciplines they have never studied before. The winter term curriculum consists of a variety of courses, both interdepartmental and departmental, at various levels, from beginning to advanced. Some students also have the opportunity to undertake a winter internship instead of formal study.
Most winter term courses are taught by regular Middlebury faculty, but many courses each year are offered by visiting instructors. These visitors may be academics from other institutions, artists, or professionals in a variety of fields, and they contribute a vibrant array of courses to each winter term.
Winter Term Courses
Winter term offers both students and faculty unique opportunities for study and learning. Dedicating four weeks to a single topic of study allows participants to benefit from an immersive environment.
Winter term courses may take a variety of forms. Some may resemble courses offered in the fall and spring semesters, while others are more experimental in format. Winter term courses are offered for credit and are generally graded A–F, just like fall and spring courses. Some satisfy major or distribution requirements, others do not. Most are designed to be accessible to the entire student body, without prerequisites or restrictions. But all winter term courses are expected to be as rigorous and demanding as any other courses offered at Middlebury College.
Winter term courses meet for a minimum of eight contact hours per week. There is some flexibility in course scheduling, but the course must meet at least three times weekly, preferably four. If it meets only three times, they may not be three consecutive days. The intensive nature of winter term courses requires concentrated effort from students, and the more that effort can be distributed throughout the week, the better student performance is likely to be. It is expected that the material covered will be roughly equivalent to what might be covered in a 12-week course.
You may find it helpful to visit our searchable course database to review winter term courses offered in the last year. Submission of a winter term course proposal does not guarantee approval.
Submit the Winter Term Course Proposal Form before the first Friday in April. Receipt of your submission will be acknowledged with a brief email within a few weeks of the due date.
The Curriculum Committee reviews winter term course proposals. In addition to the quality of the course proposal, the committee considers a wide range of factors, including the extent to which the course contributes something new versus duplicates existing courses, feedback from across campus regarding student interest and curricular needs, the balance of new versus “tried-and-true” courses, diversification of courses within and across disciplinary lines, and practical constraints such as budgetary implications and availability of specialized teaching spaces like labs and studios. The Curriculum Committee is therefore evaluating not only each course proposal individually, but also the entire slate of winter term courses as a whole.
You will be notified of the Curriculum Committee’s decision by late July. If your course is approved, you will receive a contract letter stating the standard stipend for winter term courses and other pertinent information.
Please note that the standard stipend is different for members of the Middlebury staff who teach winter term courses. We welcome the exciting contributions that staff colleagues make to the curriculum, but also recognize that staff continue to be responsible for their regular duties, and continue to be compensated for that work. For that reason, when a staff colleague’s course proposal is approved, and the relevant supervisor gives permission for it to be taught, the College pays a modest stipend in thanks to the colleague, on top of their regular pay.